Director GCHQ's Christmas Puzzle - Part 5

Last Updated: 14 Oct 2016
Congratulations on solving Part 4 of the Director's puzzle.

Part 5 is the final stage. All answers take the form of a single word or string of letters.


This question consists of a list of 55 words, plus one lone word. You have to work out where the lone word slots into the list. Each of the 56 words can be associated with another word (or partial word) and this second set of 56 words are in alphabetical order. The second set of 56 words divide up into seven sets of eight words, with the seven sets representing seven methods of pairing.

Where does the word CYBER fit into the following list? The list reads from left to right, top to bottom.

The answer needs to be entered as three words, in this order: the associated word of the listed word that precedes CYBER, CYBER’s associated word, and the associated word of the listed word that follows CYBER. The three words should be entered as a single string of text with no spaces.






Manifold Agreement






Extract answer from completed grid by reading the top row from left to right.


Graph Theory

a. What does E stand for?


b. What word corresponds to X?


c. What word corresponds to Y?


d. What word corresponds to Z?



Various words, all taken from a certain category, can be found hidden (in the usual way) in the following square. Once you have found them all, some of the unused letters can be used (in order) to spell another member of the same category. The remaining 8 letters can then be rearranged to give the (unrelated) keyword. 


The 10-by-10 grid below shows a school register for two weeks (Mon-Fri). On the left are the surnames of the 10 pupils, the boys before the girls (it's an old-fashioned school!), then sorted alphabetically. On the right are the number of days each one was absent over the two weeks. Using their teacher's musings (given below), deduce the keyword.

George sighed as he checked his register that Friday: only one pupil - Dennis, one of the identical twins - was present. Even he had missed part of last week - like all but one of the others, he'd been off sick with a bad cold. Tina had caught it first on the Saturday; the non-identical twins caught it the day after; and by Monday, the identical twins were both also sick. David had fallen ill the day after, Jon Wright and Chris on the Wednesday and, finally, Anita on the Thursday. On the following Monday, she was the only one still missing - one of two pupils to be ill for five days; everyone else had suffered for three days except for one who'd come in on the third day (and of course the one lucky student who'd avoided the bug). Wednesday finally saw a full class (one of the identical twins having been the only absentee on Tuesday), and George had hoped this would continue for the rest of the week. Not so - on Thursday, four had been missing, and now, with five more away, he had to abandon the lesson.


Solve and resolve to find the keyword.



1. A Spanish greeting returned - in Oahu? (5)
5. Addicts in American casualty head south. (5)
9. Organist confused by criticism. (8)
10. Own all of company run by short geek. (6)
12. Recess in a primary school enjoyable initially. (4)
14. Local fathers hold back musical, and they are shunned. (7) 
16. Crude language. (5)
19. A dog - more than one - need to be in early. (6)
20. South African diver goes to bar. (6)
22. Scottish athlete. (4) 
24. Bird - woman - left nothing. (8)
25. Old cat heard music. (4)
26. Joint festered endlessly. (5)
27. A jewel for each one. (7)
28. Pay three notes. (3)
29. Mixed bones a good food supply for horse. (7)


1. Affected men, possibly those from York or Liverpool. (11)
2. Sponge from backward idiot and a hothead. (6)
3. Decoration misses point - it's too colourful. (6)
4. Greek troublemaker sent back letter. (3)
6. Eaten by French partners with garlic. (5)
7. Reckless complaint. (4)
8. Observes one with child's toy. (6)
11. Made coffee from earth? (6)
13. Walk quietly by harbour and small field. (7)
15. Commendation brought back from medal occasion. (8)
17. Jeered - a mild curse came first. (7)
18. Paper is article by MI6. (6)
21. Snake points to tree. (5)
22. Jaunt turns into military coup. (5)
23. Mr Armstrong is heard to pay respect. (5)


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How to enter

Many congratulations on getting this far.

The competition has now closed. Please see our news article Director GCHQ's Christmas card puzzle - how did you do? for details about the three winners, their prizes, and of course the answers!

If you have enjoyed the Director's puzzle please make a donation to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Thank you, and happy Christmas!